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The Philosophy breakthrough: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt


Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt crossing guard

Hello dear readers,

At the conclusion of Netflix season 3 series heroine Kimmy Schmidt and fellow characters delve deep into identity, life purpose, and what it means to be a good person as well as how to align with your true self. Deep topics for a series which is often silly but also very clever and entertaining.

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At the conclusion of season 3, Kimmy finds herself being kicked out of Columbia University with an honorary degree due to her having survived kidnapping and years of captivity by a religious cult leader. The dean tells Kimmy that while she may have emotional intelligence, she doesn’t have the academic skills to succeed at Columbia. Kimmy is proud of being in control of her life and her decisions and is not about to allow herself to be rejected in this way.

Kimmy crossing guard

A previous career aptitude test matches Kimmy as being best suited to be a crossing guard, and after her college plans fall flat, Kimmy heads straight to the nearest police station to apply for the job. Having taken a philosophy class (and also because she takes everything she hears literally), Kimmy believes that in order to be a good person she must be of service to others. After making 100% on the computerized test administered at the police station, she finds herself competing with a robot for the crossing guard position. Both she and the robot are neck in neck until the last question – a moral dilemma- leaves the robot stumped. Kimmy’s altruisim wins her the job, but when the police officer runs a background check, we find out that Kimmy is still legally married to her former kidnapper- a registered sex offender- and her hard-earned performance on the crossing guard exam is rendered nul and void.

Kimmy bummed out

Kimmy finds out the hard way that being a good person is not enough. While service to others is important, something is still not right in Kimmy’s world. Step by step, the layers and illusions are peeled away until Kimmy is left alone with herself. And although she is demoralized at first, her happiness and fulfillment align with her purpose just at the moment when it seems that all of her dreams and attempts at success and purpose are stymied.

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Just before Kimmy is about to be ousted from Columbia, a nerdy and highly intelligent student whom no one seems to notice or remember has a discussion with Kimmy in the hallway. Kimmy pays attention to him and remembers his name. When he tells her he is about to quit his university studies, Kimmy congratulates him for being an independent thinker. Both Kimmy and the nerdy student, while so different in so many ways, are both sovereign beings, taking charge of their respective destinies. And, in an unexpected twist, this young man, as it turns out, has founded his own successful quirky start-up company…and he offers Kimmy a job to manage his staff.

Kimmy's new job

This episode jumped out at me, because it contains a very important lesson about self-love and self-acceptance. By always being herself, despite people finding her strange, Kimmy finally finds a way to shine in the world. She doesn’t need to help people by principle or for some moral reason. She refuses to allow people to feel sorry for her despite all of the challenges she has overcome. She is a gift to the world simply by being herself. She is of service to others just by enjoying her own life and shining her light.

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The polarized vision of human beings who are either self-serving and selfish, living in a world that is designed to fulfill their own needs cohabiting with people who are focused on service to others but whose personal needs may not be met jumps up to a higher level where polarization is no longer necessary.

kimmy-columbia

Imagine dreaming your life where you just enjoy yourself each and every moment. You wake up when your body is rested, you eat when your body is hungry. You laugh when you find something funny. You give affection when you want to, and you are able to easily receive affection. Your heart is open. You share your gifts openly. Life is beautiful. People enjoy being around you. You don’t hold grudges or judge others. You are happy. You don’t feel guilty about other peoples’ unhappiness, and you know you are not responsible for anyone other than yourself. But you are not selfish, because you are love.

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This is the sweet spot we are all looking for. Life is simple. That subtle shift happens when I realize all I need to do is be myself. It is such a relief to stop pretending. To stop worrying and no longer be afraid of not having enough. To know that I don’t need to find my right purpose or mission., because being myself is perfection itself.  I feel close to that shift in my own life, and I am thankful to Kimmy Schmidt, fictional Netflix character, for embodying her truth in such a delightful way.

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